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75thbugler
06-15-2006, 03:42 PM
A friend of mine sent this to me.

Full Story
06/15/2006 00:25:07 EST
Civil War re-enactor kicked out of park
FLINT, Mich., June 14 (UPI) -- A Civil War re-enactor in Michigan is in trouble for telling a black first-grader he probably would have been a slave in the 1860s.
Tim VanRaemdonck, who was portraying a Confederate Army officer, said he was just staying in character when he wrote "slave" as the occupation of black children on fictitious enlistment papers during Civil War Days at the historic Crossroads Village, the Flint (Mich.) Journal reported.
VanRaemdonck was kicked out of Crossroads on Friday.
"I told him, 'This is the 1860s, and we're in Georgia... .In that time period, you probably would have been a slave,'" said VanRaemdonck. "I told him the historical fact."
The 44-year-old Flint firefighter is part of a loosely organized Civil War group -- the 23rd Georgia/22nd Michigan Volunteer Infantry -- which was performing for free at Crossroads, the newspaper said.

MStuart
06-15-2006, 04:13 PM
A little more

Mark

GENESEE TWP. - Civil War re-enactor Tim VanRaemdonck said he was just staying in character when he wrote "slave" as the occupation of black children on fictitious enlistment papers during Civil War Days at Crossroads Village.

VanRaemdonck, portraying an officer in the Confederate Army, was kicked out of Crossroads on Friday because of how he filled out the keepsake papers he gave elementary school students from the Waterford School District.

One first-grade student was so upset by being labeled a slave that he tore up the enlistment paper he had been given and apparently told his teacher.

Word reached Crossroads Village manager Garry Pringle, who had two conversations with VanRaemdonck and asked him to leave.

But VanRaemdonck said he is owed an apology from the Genesee County Parks and Recreation Commission for kicking him out when all he did was tell the truth about the country's history.

"I told him, 'This is the 1860s, and we're in Georgia. ... In that time period, you probably would have been a slave,'" said VanRaemdonck, 44, a Flint firefighter. "I told him the historical fact."

Waterford Superintendent Thomas J. Tattan said he was satisfied by how the parks system handled the issue.

VanRaemdonck is part of a small, loosely organized Civil War group - the 23rd Georgia/22nd Michigan Volunteer Infantry - that was performing for free at Crossroads.

The matter will be reviewed by the county affirmative action office, and Parks Director Amy M. McMillan said she will apologize to VanRaemdonck if the office determines he was treated unfairly.

McMillan believes there were better choices than labeling the young boy a "slave" - even if the label was designed to share history.
There were also free people of color in the southern states during this time period," she wrote in an e-mail to The Flint Journal. "More appropriate answers could have included occupations such as farmer, blacksmith, or other occupations typical of that time period.

"It would have been equally inappropriate to respond 'slave owner' to a Caucasian child who had asked such a question. Had any re-enactor provided such a response, he/she would have also been asked to leave the village."

VanRaemdonck said he has performed a similar re-enactment at the Antietam, Bull Run and Gettysburg battlefields, playing the part of a Confederate recruiter trying to persuade prospective soldiers to complete enlistment papers and join to fight the Union.

The group also re-enacts the parts of Union soldiers in a Michigan infantry unit.

VanRaemdonck said he asks children about their occupations, volunteering that black children likely would have been slaves and that girls weren't allowed to become soldiers but could become a nurse or cook.

He said he listed "slave" as the occupation for three or four black children during the Crossroads visit Friday.

McMillan said it's important to know how the discussion unfolded, but "no one other than the child and (VanRaemdonck) were part of the conversation (and) it is subject to each individual's memory."

She said that when questioned by Pringle, VanRaemdonck admitted it was a mistake and said he wouldn't do it again.

VanRaemdonck said he actually agreed only not to raise the subject of slavery again but never told Pringle his comments were a mistake. When the park manager approached him, he said, he expected to be asked to return because of how well the program had gone.

"Nobody broke down and started crying," VanRaemdonck said of his dealings with the children.

McMillan said VanRaemdonck was the only member of his group asked to leave Crossroads.

Tom Parker of Flint, another member of the 23rd Georgia/22nd Michigan Volunteer Infantry, said he never noticed any commotion while VanRaemdonck worked with children. Parker defended how the group handled the issue of slavery.

"If we don't discuss it, children don't learn," he said.

Flint NAACP President Frances Gilcreast said it's hard to judge the dispute without having been party to what was said and how it was said to a small child.

"That's a tough one," Gilcreast said. "I can understand both sides of that issue."

MStuart
06-15-2006, 05:32 PM
<VanRaemdonck is part of a small, loosely organized Civil War group - the 23rd Georgia/22nd Michigan Volunteer Infantry - that was performing for free at Crossroads.>

You mean we can make money doing this, instead of spending it?

Mark

indguard
06-15-2006, 05:33 PM
"It would have been equally inappropriate to respond 'slave owner' to a Caucasian child who had asked such a question. Had any re-enactor provided such a response, he/she would have also been asked to leave the village."


This is how stupid people are. No it would NOT have been "equally inappropriate." In fact, there would have been a MUCH higher chance of a white person being automatically labeled a "slave owner" than it would to have labeld a black person a "blacksmith, farmer" or other occupation in Georgia!

This is just an example of a lack of historical knowledge. I hope no reenactor goes back to Crossroads Village.

indguard
06-15-2006, 05:34 PM
Could someone post the actual links to these stories???

MStuart
06-15-2006, 05:51 PM
Got mine from "that other forum".

Mark

Bill_Cross
06-15-2006, 07:24 PM
This is just an example of a lack of historical knowledge. I hope no reenactor goes back to Crossroads Village.
No, this is an example of why many parks prefer to avoid having reenactors there: it can make their job harder, not easier. This is an example of our collective inability to handle controversy, and you can't blame the parks for wanting to pass this hot potato.

While it might be true that an African-American child in Georgia would have been a slave, it doesn't mean that child has been prepared for being handed a piece of paper with this harsh reality. Did they tell the girls who had enlistement papers "you would've been told to go home and wash some clothes"? I doubt it.

One has to consider one's audience. Elementary school kids may have been taught very little about the Civil War or slavery. In my school district, it's not taught in any detail until Middle School.

As much as we might feel good getting our bowels in an uproar about this, the truth of the matter is it's probably just another example of how controversy makes bureaucrats squirm.

Tigerrebjim
06-15-2006, 07:34 PM
One thing I have learned when doing Q and A, is know your audience. I agree with Bill Cross, while it is possibly true the youngster would have been a slave, there is also the chance that he could have been a 'free person of color.' too. When doing forms and such, just play the game with the child. If the kid liked playing the sand box, but down that he was a laborer. These types of events are supposed to be educational and 'fun.'

My 3.87 cents (price of ideas keeps going up in California

JIM T

indguard
06-15-2006, 08:26 PM
Bill Cross,


No, this is an example of why many parks prefer to avoid having reenactors there

Once again, you couldn't be more wrong.

This is just an example of your hatred for the dreaded "mainstreamer" because if you actually READ the story, you would see that there is no indication that the reenactor mistreated the kid or misread the situation by any great measure.

No, it is PURELY an example of PCism fun amock among the Park personnell.

As I just wrote on my website:


The total number of free blacks in Georgia as noted in the 1860 census was only 3,500. By contrast, the total number of slaves in Georgia in 1860 amounted to 462,198! It would NOT have made much sense to assume that, on average, a black person in Georgia would have been a free man. There was nothing "more appropriate" to have said to the child but that he would probably have been a slave.

The number of white slave owners in 1860 Georgia was 41,084 out of a total white population of 591,550. So, while it would not have been an automatic assumption that a white person in Georgia in 1860 was a slave owner, it was far, far more likely to assume that a white person might own slaves in 1860 Georgia than to assume a black person was a free man in the same place and time period. The statistics do not lie.

The reenactor was right and the staff of the Crossroads Village is wrong to have removed him from the Park for telling history like it is.


So, I disagree entirely with your assumptions that it was the reenactor who MUST have been in the wrong.

After all, that is ALWAYS your opinion. Ya caint be right all a time!

bob 125th nysvi
06-15-2006, 08:31 PM
Mr. VanRaemdonck, told half the truth. A black child in the south had a 90%+ chance of having a SOCIAL status of slave, In Georgia it would have been 99%.

An adult slave would have had an occupation of something else, like blacksmith, laborer or field hand.

A young child would not have had an occupation.

So in this case hopefully the children were 'pretending' to be adults.

The other problem is that our society is extremely controversey adverse. So no governmental body is going to want to be anywhere near the word slave with school children within hearing distance due exactly to this. Someone getting offended.

It doesn't matter what the truth is (or was) our civil servants want no part of ANYTHING that is going to get some parent to call the media or heaven forbid a politician.

So they over reacted.

Maybe what both sides should do is:

1) Issue a statement that Mr. VanRaemdonck remarks were not meant to be offensive but do represent the actual social situation in Georgia in 1860 and that the park official who did removed him from the program intend no offense to Mr. VanRaemdonck and was not impling that his statement on the child's social status was incorrect.

2) Revise the cirriculum of the program to explain to the children what the actual social status of people were. I would not limit just to the status of blacks in the south but include such things as women were not allowed to vote. This needs to be done before the child actually become immersed in the program. You might also need to include a disclaimer that the people on site are actors playing a part.

3) Take this chance to have a real serious discussion about the local school system and how they teach both the civil war and its preceding appearances.

Bob Sandusky
Co C 125th NYSVI
Esperance, NY

bob 125th nysvi
06-15-2006, 08:49 PM
Your attack on Bill is unjustified as his statement is basically correct from the prespective of a government employee.

That which is not under our control is potentially controvesal and therefore a hazard.

I am not talking about a physical hazard but a "Oh my god, this is going to make a news story headline" hazard.

As a subcontractor for the government I can categorically state that they are all allergic to controvesy or thinking outside the box. It doesn't get them ahead in their careers.

So the supervisor on the spot is informed the word 'slave' is written on a paper given to a black child by one of the reneactors wearing a southern uniform.

Can you say unjustified visions of the KKK dancing in his head?

He doesn't think is this correct or not, he imagines his boss seeing this in the morning paper or hearing it on the radio on the way to work and wonders how his next review will read.

So he pulls the guy and has a defense when the manure hits the fan.

The boss looks good because they can say "Yes we know Mr. VanRaemdonck is historically correct but the purpose of our program is to be educational without offending anyone" when the press comes calling for a statement.

Let's face it, it is easier for us to create a problem for them than it is to help them.

That's the environment they work in.

Bob Sandusky
Co C 125th NYSVI
Esperance NY

bill watson
06-15-2006, 08:50 PM
I knew a fellow who would come into a classroom fully equipped with knapsack and whatnot and strip all the items off, one by one, and explain how they functioned in the field. He'd even take off his pants and jacket and shoes so kids could see the construction and touch the fabric. Kind of like an expanded "junk on the bunk" talk. And he always wore a bright red union suit underneath everything. And for 4th to 6th grade, this was funny to everyone and fit perfectly into their idea of humor. It made the learning even more fun to see an adult willing to lose his dignity in an effort to show them neat stuff.

But what if he'd taken it one additional step and stripped to the skin?

That's comparable to what this fellow did.

The issue is this: How far do you take things and for what purpose? Is it really necessary to show a group of second graders a naked, hairy, overweight man to make them realize there's a human being under the clothing? Is it really necessary to force a young black kid to confront the implications of slavery in this way?

It's bad judgment, and it is faintly troubling in other ways. How many of us have met folks in the hobby who seem to take perverse enjoyment out of lingering over racism and who manage to always include some kind of racist remark in their impression, almost gratuitously? Like the history lesson is a fig leaf over a natural condition.

And it's easy to square away the possibilities of bad outcomes. All that's necessary is for those who are asked to do living histories is to go over, well ahead of time, what will be covered and how it will be done. Then, if the venue indicates there are limits, the reenactor can decide if the limits are acceptable, and simply not go, or negotiate for more.

One suspects it would also have turned out differently if one of the kids had said "what's a slave?" or one of the teacher had said "We're learning about slavery, what can you tell us?"

But this guy was just over the top. He forced his agenda on a first grader, and it really doesn't matter what the agenda was, it's just not right.

indguard
06-15-2006, 08:58 PM
... maybe the reenactor at Crossroads Village should have replaced slave with...

"non-self relocated, compulsory, domestic engineer"

Then we wouldn't have to get all upset of that darned history stuff. It's so darn messy, after all!

Mr. Watson and Mr. Sandusky,

Just like Mr. Cross you are both reading your own bias into the situation. Not a thing you just posited as a "point" can be substantiated by the article! Just like the people on the Village staff, you are overreacting and ASSUMING that the reenactor went wild or was, in the words of Mr. Watson, "over the top"!

bill watson
06-15-2006, 10:23 PM
I'm sorry, I'm lost: What bias of my own am I injecting into this?

Trimmings
06-15-2006, 10:54 PM
Mr. Indiguard,

Having read your excellent posts for years I would like to thank you once again for yet another reasonable, level headed, highly polished, and unbiased attempt to clearly see through a foggy subject matter. Have you ever considered becoming a regular columnist or editorial writer for your local newspaper?

Ray Prosten

indguard
06-15-2006, 10:55 PM
Bill,


I'm sorry, I'm lost: What bias of my own am I injecting into this?

Sorry I wasn't more clear. I meant the bias that it must be the reenactor that is wrong and the Park that is correctly reacting to the situation.

indguard
06-15-2006, 10:57 PM
Ray,


Having read your excellent posts for years I would like to thank you once again for yet another reasonable, level headed, highly polished, and unbiased attempt to clearly see through a foggy subject matter. Have you ever considered becoming a regular columnist or editorial writer for your local newspaper?

Assuming you are not being sarcastic (because I love it when people say how great I am...ha, ha), I do write for publication already. Magazines, papers and a ton of web based news sites.

My evil seed is spread liberally (but never AS a liberal!!).

tompritchett
06-16-2006, 12:40 AM
I just checked the 1860 census data for Georgia. 99.2% of blacks in Georgia were slaves versus freemen.

indguard
06-16-2006, 01:35 AM
I just checked the 1860 census data for Georgia. 99.2% of blacks in Georgia were slaves versus freemen.

Exactly! So, sayng the boy would have been a slave in 1860 Georgia was FAR more common than not!

Those "fact" thingies are soooo annoying in a PC world.

bill watson
06-16-2006, 09:34 AM
The park could have just told the reenactor to cut it out. So, no, I don't think the park was "right."

However, it is hard to fault grownups who react in defense of a child when the child has been upset. That's not political correctness, it's basic human nature correctness. We're not talking about offending some moronic adult in quest of remunerative victimhood here. Have at them. I'll close ranks and poke all of them with whatever stick you want. But here, we're talking about a little kid who was exposed to a bit more of the world's harshness than he was equipped, at age six, to handle. To paraphrase some movie line or other, he couldn't handle the truth, he didn't have the foundations to support it.

TheQM
06-16-2006, 10:09 AM
If we want to get our panties in a knot over historical versus political correctness, why was this Confederate Officer enlisting a black person, slave or free, into the Confederate Army? That didn't happen until March 1865, in Richmond, VA.

Jim Dedman
06-16-2006, 11:31 AM
This is an example of the type of PC BS we are going to have to struggle with as reenactors. The Park way over re-acted to the re-enactor. Asking him to leave was improper and I hope his pards went with him.

indguard
06-16-2006, 12:33 PM
Bill Watson,


However, it is hard to fault grownups who react in defense of a child when the child has been upset. That's not political correctness, it's basic human nature correctness.

I agree with you here. However, I do not get the feeling that there were any upset children at this event. It seems to me (tho it is unstated) that it was a parent that got upset when the "slave" tag was seen. The reenactors all said no one was crying or upset.

I am still saying all blame falls on the park.

hanktrent
06-16-2006, 12:49 PM
Exactly! So, sayng the boy would have been a slave in 1860 Georgia was FAR more common than not!

Those "fact" thingies are soooo annoying in a PC world.

Speaking of facts, what percentage of those slaves were enlisted into the army?

The only possible fact-based reaction of the recruiter was to tell all the children they were underage and couldn't join. That's not even getting into the Confederate-recruiting-in-Michigan thing. So it was a fantasy situation to begin with.

If the goal was to assign all the children typical occupations that they would have had as adults in Georgia during the Civil War, based on their appearance, slave was the right answer, or at least by far the most typical one.

If the goal was to pretend to successfully enlist all the children into the army by treating them as if they were typical adult male recruits, slave was the wrong answer, or at most an extemely odd atypical one.

Hank Trent
hanktrent@voyager.net

indguard
06-16-2006, 12:54 PM
Trying to defend their notion that slavery should not have been mentioned so that the black kid wouldn't be "upset" Hank Trent (and a few others here) have proposed the following point...



Speaking of facts, what percentage of those slaves were enlisted into the army?

I see. So, to satisfy your "feelings" Hank, to stop from calling a kid a "slave" so that his feelings would not be hurt, we should have told all the black kids that they are not allowed to "sign up for the army" and pretend to drill with the other kids.

And, pray tell, Hank, HOW do we tell these sensitive little fellas WHY they cannot drill with the other kids. Wouldn't we have to EXPLAIN that they would have been SLAVES and not ELIGIBLE for the army???


Your solution makes matters worse, Hank.

WTH

dustyswb
06-16-2006, 01:26 PM
The problem, as I see it, is that this guy saw a black child and not just another child. I don't know the ethnic diversity of the school district in Michigan, but I would be curious to know what he said to the Latino and Asian kids in the group........

indguard
06-16-2006, 03:18 PM
Dusty,

Good point. The article does not address that at all, but I would be curious, too.

Bill_Cross
06-16-2006, 05:11 PM
This is just an example of your hatred for the dreaded "mainstreamer" because if you actually READ the story, you would see that there is no indication that the reenactor mistreated the kid or misread the situation by any great measure.
Hmmm, that's interesting, because I don't see anything about this article that touches on mainstreamer vs. campaigner. I guess my reading ability is declining with my advancing years. If you really are an editorial writer, I'd love to see some of your work and what reputable publications would hire you. Maybe fantasy and science fiction publications?

It is PURELY an example of PCism fun amock among the Park personnell.
I'm not sure there's any fun in this story, other than watching you go ballistic in your reactions, or in the fictitious Ray Prosten egging you on. The park would've reacted if the gentleman had done any number of other things that can get folks worked up. I have done demos in my child's Middle School, and if I'd brought along an edged weapon or firearm, they wouldn't have asked me to leave, they'd have arrested me. You want to make this a crusade, when really it's just another example of how govmint bureaucrats and employees are more concerned about keeping their jobs than helping you push an agenda.

So, I disagree entirely with your assumptions that it was the reenactor who MUST have been in the wrong. After all, that is ALWAYS your opinion. Ya caint be right all a time!
I'm not right most of the time, and I'm glad you're here to point that out. But I never said the reenactor was wrong (you're confusing me with one of the other two Bills, Bill Watson). My point is simply that the parks will take the least controversial route out of any pickle.

I had first-hand experience with this several years ago when I had lined up what would've been something of a first: a reenactment of New Market Heights on the original ground. Colored Troops units from several states were excited about it, and the park ranger was chuffed at having this event. Then his boss said "not until the monument is dedicated," knowing that the bids hadn't even been taken at that time. Needless to say, I've seen nothing about that monument. It's much easier to avoid controversy than to risk being criticized.

But as an editorial writer and web master, you don't have to worry about that sort of thing, since you're insulated from the risk of being fired.

hanktrent
06-16-2006, 05:25 PM
So, to satisfy your "feelings" Hank, to stop from calling a kid a "slave" so that his feelings would not be hurt, we should have told all the black kids that they are not allowed to "sign up for the army" and pretend to drill with the other kids.

And, pray tell, Hank, HOW do we tell these sensitive little fellas WHY they cannot drill with the other kids. Wouldn't we have to EXPLAIN that they would have been SLAVES and not ELIGIBLE for the army???


Your solution makes matters worse, Hank.


Whoa, you missed the point. I'll make it clearer.

Defending calling the boy a slave on the grounds of historic accuracy is silly, because the whole situation was based on fantasy. If anything, calling him a slave only made the interpretation less accurate, because the kids went away thinking that slaves were enlisted into the Confederate army, when in fact that was extremely non-typical.

My solution would be based on the second paragraph in my post: "If the goal was to pretend to successfully enlist all the children into the army by treating them as if they were typical adult male recruits, slave was the wrong answer, or at most an extemely odd atypical one."

Since that was apparently the overriding goal, in my opinion the "right" answer would be to give each child a typical occupation of an adult male recruit from the period, i.e. farmer, blacksmith, clerk, teamster, day laborer, etc. The black kids aren't going to be upset if they're classed as farmers or day laborers right along with the white kids, yet I'd be willing to bet those would be among the most common occupation of black enlistees in the Confederate army.

Hank Trent
hanktrent@voyager.net

TheQM
06-16-2006, 06:06 PM
[QUOTE=Bill_Cross] I have done demos in my child's Middle School, and if I'd brought along an edged weapon or firearm, they wouldn't have asked me to leave, they'd have arrested me. QUOTE]

Bill Cross,

Yep, that's the People's Republic of New Jersey for you!

indguard
06-16-2006, 06:16 PM
Bill Cross,


It's much easier to avoid controversy than to risk being criticized

OK, then we always avoid "controversy"? If we did that it wouldn't leave much room for historical presentations would it? Someone's Ox is ALWAYS being gored in history!


But as an editorial writer and web master, you don't have to worry about that sort of thing, since you're insulated from the risk of being fired

Ha, ha. Yer right there, I DO have to say!!! Touche!

Hank Trent,


in my opinion the "right" answer would be to give each child a typical occupation of an adult male recruit from the period, i.e. farmer, blacksmith, clerk, teamster, day laborer, etc. The black kids aren't going to be upset if they're classed as farmers or day laborers right along with the white kids, yet I'd be willing to bet those would be among the most common occupation of black enlistees in the Confederate army.

Not too bad a compromise. I like it well enough.

WTH

Bill_Cross
06-16-2006, 07:04 PM
OK, then we always avoid "controversy"? If we did that it wouldn't leave much room for historical presentations would it? Someone's Ox is ALWAYS being gored in history!
No, there is "accepted" history (e.g., Columbus "discovered" America, despite the fact the Vikings were here around 1,000 AD and the Native Americans were never lost). Then there is "redactive," or revisionist history. Sometimes we revise our image of the past with new research and discoveries. Sometimes we simply change our evaluation of the facts.

In the 19th Century, "the only good Indian is a dead Indian" (courtesy of CW hero-turned Indian fighter Phil Sheridan). Now, we have a different take on the expansion into the West. While the result is this great country, it came at a price for the natives who once ruled this continent. If you have Indian ancestors (and I do), you can't not have a mixed feeling about how the West was "won."

National Parks especially are the puppets of Congress and the public, forced to present a relatively unthreatening, non-controversial historical image. My earlier example about New Market Heights is one case where the ranger's supervisor decided having flag-waving Confederates on the same field with USCT units was simply too risky for his career. I understand his position, since if something negative had happened (a protest group showed up, someone complained), HE would then be on the hook for the problem. It would be nice if we could present history in all its complex detail, but we all know that's not possible, and that most reenactments don't present anything close to the real history (the campaigner vs. mainstreamer argument IS germane here). So your ire and wrath are misplaced, as has been pointed out by Hank and others.

The "lesson" to this isn't that PC has run amok (yawn, wake me when THAT old argument is settled), but that reenactors are guests of parks and other public ground, and need to ascertain ahead of time what parameters and limitations they're working under. As Bill W said, if you find the restrictions unbearable, don't cooperate. The park rangers at Gettysburg and many NPS-run battlefields do not allow opposing force reenactments or even LHs. Is that accurate? The question is beside the point. The NPS has set a policy in place, and as their guests, we have to abide by their rules.

It feels WONDERFUL to get your bowels all worked up, but this is simply a case where a little care ahead of time and some thought by the reenactor in question would have avoided an ugly scene.

indguard
06-16-2006, 07:49 PM
Well, Bill, if you can show me that the reenactor knowingly violated Park policies, then I'd say you have a point.

But, according to the report no one was upset until the Park decided to start throwing people out of the palce. In fact, there isn't even any report of how "angry" the parents of the kid were over the slave comment.

Unless there is conduct by the reenactor that is not reported (and it is hardly believable that such conduct would go unreported) then I maintain that it is the Park that overreacted.

So, I am not sure what your whole point was about the NPS rules. If such rules are known ahead of time we live by them or stay home. But, there is no mention of breaking some kind of policy.

(By the way, I have seen several historians dispute Sheridan's "dead Indian" quote. And Sheridan always denied having uttered it. But that is another story.)

bob 125th nysvi
06-16-2006, 09:33 PM
the reenactor was totally at fault here.

What I said is the child's occupation would not be slave that is his social status, so if you WANT to be technical the reeanactor WAS wrong.

A minor point.

I never said the park was RIGHT. What I said is I understand why the park employee acted the way he did.

Just as in reenacting you don't have carte blanche to do anything you want when you are part of an education program you are kind of stuck abiding by their rules and decisions.

I had a friend who went to law school. He said the only thing they taught him was fear of god and every professor was god.

Same here. Play by thier rules or don't play.

The park employee overreacted by anybody's reasonable standard unless the reenactor was asked to not use the word slave and subsequently refused. A good part of my job involves 'he said.she said' so I'm not taking ANYBODY'S word about what they did or did not say without witnesses. Especially when they are talking to the press (as both parties are).

It seems to me that since the rest of the reenactors were not asked to leave this is not a "hate reenactors" thing this is a specific problem with a specific word and to whom it was used.

So like adults everybody should talk about and agree to the rules of engagement.

The "I'm right, no I'm right" little tiff going on here will not accomplish anything if it gets blown out of proportion EXCEPT the parks department saying, 'Fine reenactors are a burden, no more reenactors.'

Sometimes getting to the endpoint (proper education about the Civil War and the society that fought it) needs a journey of many little steps.

Being bullheaded isn't going to get us anywhere.

Bob Sandusky
Co C 125th NYSVI
Esperance, NY

indguard
06-16-2006, 10:54 PM
I guess we will have to agree to disagree.

I don't see any evidence that the reenactor violated any kind of rules of conduct, the Park is not saying he did and the article doesn't.

I think it is purely an overreaction on the Park's behalf. You think it is all the reenactor's fault.

Impasse.

bill watson
06-17-2006, 12:44 PM
Actually, some of us are not interested in finding fault, only examining the situation for lessons to be learned. The park could have just said "Yikes, that's not what we expected, could you please not dish any more of that out until we can sample it better?" And the reenactor just needs to not use a Parrott gun to kill mosquitoes. There's disproportionate, out-of-scale behavior on both sides.

indguard
06-17-2006, 01:52 PM
There's disproportionate, out-of-scale behavior on both sides

See, the problem is you have no proof to ASSUME this claim. The story really doesn't reveal any "disproportionate, out-of-scale behavior" on the part of the reenactor. You are interjecting that behavior because you somehow feel it MUST be true.

Bill_Cross
06-17-2006, 03:52 PM
You are interjecting that behavior because you somehow feel it MUST be true.
I'm afraid the only one who's interjecting behavior instead of looking at this dispassionately is you.

I don't always agree with Bill W, but in this case, he's dead-on: it's irrelevent what you or I THINK happened, the clear lesson here is:

1.) Ask ahead of time what the hosting body is expecting from interaction with spectators;

2.) Ask yourself what level of detail the situation requires.

Several people have suggested that the reenactor's actions were neither particularly "historical" nor "accurate," since he was picking and choosing which parts of history to apply. Children didn't serve, either, so singling out the black kid for an extra dose of "realism" doesn't make the reenactor right or historical, and punishing him for that (while possibly excessive in extent) is not some indication of PC run amok, but of bureaucrats looking to head off a scandal. Thanks to the new report, they traded one kind of dust-up (with the kid, his parents and the local NAACP) for another (angry reenactors looking to thump their self-righteous chests).

The point several of us have tried to make from the start, and which you're ignoring in your desire to have a good public foodfight, attack people over old scores (real or imagined), or otherwise be less-than-reasonable, is that interaction with the public is fraught with issues for bureaucrats and rangers, and therefore requires that we understand where their "soft" areas are ahead of time. That's neither picking on the reenactor in this story, nor a mainstream vs. campaigner issue, as you've tried to frame it. You either can't grasp that, or are ignoring it so you can vent your spleen. In either case, I don't choose to continue the rant with you.

bill watson
06-17-2006, 04:43 PM
I missed the part about mainstream/campaigner. I have no idea which church this fellow attends.

And the disproportionate behavior is simply giving a six-year-old a history lesson he's not capable of absorbing. Nobody is denying that the reenactor did what he did. In my book that is a mismatch between audience and content, period. What's so hard to understand about that?

BobWerner
06-17-2006, 07:16 PM
See, the problem is you have no proof to ASSUME this claim. The story really doesn't reveal any "disproportionate, out-of-scale behavior" on the part of the reenactor. You are interjecting that behavior because you somehow feel it MUST be true.

The child was a FIRST GRADER!!! Think about that for a while.

2nd_mi_johnny
12-28-2007, 10:26 AM
I would like to provide for people on the forum, the personal account of a person, who is not only a member of the host unit, but some one who was actually there when this all went down. There were in fact a few different parties who were responsible for the miss happenings and the long ranging effects this event has had. I must admit that I am some what partial in the favor of Reenactors and slightly against the village for what has happened because of this event. It is not true that he had been saying “Slave" all day, it was very early on in the morning, a morning I might add that Reenactors were not yet supposed to be there. They had actually if I recall correctly from what I was told, been there since Monday or Tuesday of that week. The situation before he was kicked out, had actually been dealt with by the president of the host unit, The Parks General Manager and a conversation where the man was reprimanded, and told to think of a different way to say slave, such as Cotton Picker, Farm worker, House boy, Boot shiner, Kitchen worker, or any other type of tasks that slaves were often given. The man did say in fact that it was a mistake, and he had never really meant to say it.

Part of the problem is Amy McMillan who has never been an overly reenactor friendly General manager of the parks and recreation for the Genesee county area. For a little history, the first two years of her position as the parks and recreation general manager, she allowed the Juneteenth celebration (which celebrates African American history and renaissance over the years.) to coincide with the civil war days event simply because of the involvement of the 105th United States Colored troop’s reenactors, a unit which portrays a civil war unit. The problem was the location of the Juneteenth event, in relation to the confederate reenactors camp site. The entire Juneteenth event happened literally on both ends of the confederate camp. There was a skirmish, on one end of the camp at the Atlas Mill, and there was a bunch of period correct African American political functions against slavery and the like. Then on the second year of the event, Ms. McMillan almost killed the event by demanding that Reenactors be forced to at the door give up their guns, which would be tagged and stored in the side porch area of the Atlas Mill. This really set off a lot of reenactors my self included, because I knew how bad of a location that was for the muskets. The reenactors would be allowed to have their guns for drills and each battle but other wise they would be in park care, and the park would not be responsible for any damage, or loss encored by the reenactors, in relation to their guns. Threw some very hard work by the organizers of the event Rick and Doris Julian, a compromise was met and it was simply agreed that with the exception of drill, and battles, the reenactors muskets would remain in camp. This was fine by most of us because it was a mandate that most of us live by any ways.

That weekend more went down that has lead to parks and recreation of Genesee county having its official stance being, that there would no longer be living history in the village. Then they floundered for a while, and hinted that it would be just a couple years to let the political situation cool down. But long story short The inability on behalf of Amy McMillan to be tolerant of the reenactors has made this much more of an issue then it originally was. Jerry the park manager, and my Unit president had dealt with the situation, and Amy McMillan decided to remove the man from the event. The problem with the United States today, is that Political Correctness has run so amuck that we can’t teach the youth of America the real history behind things, with out fear of a law suite, being black listed from an event for pissing off some person of a different skin tone, by teaching them the way it really was back then, or watching good events, Events that men like my Late father was on the ground floor of, now lost to us forever, flushed down the drain in a torrent sea of red tape.

I was once very happily a volunteer at Cross Roads Village, and the Huckleberry Railroad. But now I refuse to return to volunteer at the place until Amy McMillan is voted out of office. Many reenactors in Michigan agree. The Problem is NOT Genesee County Recreation and Parks. It is Amy McMillan The Parks and Recreation department has allways had a very tollerant possition on the reenactors, Amy McMillan has not.

indguard
12-28-2007, 06:00 PM
Thanks for the first hand account.

I have to say that this has happened in several of the parks we used to have events at in my part of the country, too.

The problem, as far as I can tell, is with the women getting these positions. Women imagining they know better than anyone else is the chief problem here. In nearly every case I have heard of, the situation seems to be that a braindead, politically correct, half sentient woman had recently become the new director, or president, etc.

The same is happening in our schools. Women are taking the backbone right out of our society and feminizing it. Everybody is hand wringing and worrying way too much.

But, when these nitwits who claim to be more "caring" than everyone else will be scratching their pin heads and wondering why no one cares about history anymore. They will also be rushing to find some way to make up the money they will lose when the Civil War events are gone.

jthlmnn
12-28-2007, 07:37 PM
Thanks for the first hand account.
The problem, as far as I can tell, is with the women getting these positions.


1) A technical note: the account generously provided by 2nd_MI_Johnny is "second hand". He has related to us what he was told by someone else. Had he been a participant in or witness of the incident, it would be "first hand".

2) I suggest you look farther as to the nature of "the problem". Assuming that all that we have been told is accurate, then it would appear to me that the actions of the general manager might be described, in the least favorable light, as based in ignorance, overbearing, micro-managing, antagonistic, and maybe even self-aggrandizing. These are traits that can easily be found in managers of either gender. (I have had several supervisors of both genders who have acted in very much the ways described in 2nd_MI-Johnny's post. I've also had several of both genders who were the most competent and effective people one could hope for.)

Pvt_Idaho
12-28-2007, 07:44 PM
This is what happens when the government lets idiots and woman have the vote. Ever since Eve convinced Adam to eat that apple, they've been nothing but trouble.

Retreat to the safety of your 1860s time warp at once and it will go away!

FloridaConfederate
12-29-2007, 01:13 AM
Thanks for the first hand account.

I have to say that this has happened in several of the parks we used to have events at in my part of the country, too.

The problem, as far as I can tell, is with the women getting these positions. Women imagining they know better than anyone else is the chief problem here. In nearly every case I have heard of, the situation seems to be that a braindead, politically correct, half sentient woman had recently become the new director, or president, etc.

The same is happening in our schools. Women are taking the backbone right out of our society and feminizing it. Everybody is hand wringing and worrying way too much.

But, when these nitwits who claim to be more "caring" than everyone else will be scratching their pin heads and wondering why no one cares about history anymore. They will also be rushing to find some way to make up the money they will lose when the Civil War events are gone.

Wow, just wow.

"Edith, bring me a beer"...."right away.... Archie..... right away"

jthlmnn
12-29-2007, 04:11 AM
"Every girl wants someone who
She can always look up to.
You know I love you, of course
Let me know that you're the boss."

"I want a brave man!
I want a cave man!"


(Shelley Fabares, 1962)

Southern Cal
12-29-2007, 01:15 PM
I'd give the powers that be a copy of the 1860 Census and tell them to read the facts. Facts is facts, two and two equal four and not some other number that makes kids feel good.

When students go to visit the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles, they all get a card generated at random with a real person's photo and name on it, from the period 1933-1945. After viewing the Holocaust exhibit, the card is inserted into a computer and the student or other visitor finds out what happened to that person named on that card, for instance, Anne Frank, born 1929, Frankfurt Germany, family fled to Holland in 1933, captured by Nazis in 1944, died from typhus in Aushwitz concentration camp, Poland, March 1945.

Facts is facts

2nd_mi_johnny
12-30-2007, 08:51 AM
1) A technical note: the account generously provided by 2nd_MI_Johnny is "second hand". He has related to us what he was told by someone else. Had he been a participant in or witness of the incident, it would be "first hand".

in regaurds to our technical note: I was actually in ear shot of the situation from the point of its origin, to the point of its close. I heard the man say 'you would have most likely been a slave' I went over to the president of my unit and said, "we might have an issue" No more then two minutes passed and Gary Pringle walked up looking for Rick, I walked with them as a whitness, They dealt with it, and I went to go back to where I origianally was. I was no more then five or teen feet away when the phone rang, and from my location I could hear Ms. McMillan yelling at Mr. Pringle. As for the Accounts of her lack of regaurd for Reenactors go. I personally whitnessed them, I simply spoke with other reenactors to see if I was the only one who has had this interpitation.

reb64
12-30-2007, 09:57 AM
A true southerner wold have probably wrote the trade of the person, not slave. enlistees could also have been free persons hence a profession. even if property they had skills , they weren't generic one slave fits all jobs you know.

Poor Private
12-30-2007, 01:28 PM
But you have to remember that the boy was young. Probably to young yet to have a trade on the "ole Plantation" , hence he was a slave only. Would he be apprenticed out for training at such a young age?

RJSamp
12-30-2007, 02:15 PM
But you have to remember that the boy was young. Probably to young yet to have a trade on the "ole Plantation" , hence he was a slave only. Would he be apprenticed out for training at such a young age?


Correct me if I'm wrong.....wasn't this a 'pretend' situation about enlisting in the army, mustering in, and then drilling? So you need to add 10-16 years to the kids ages otherwise they wouldn't be enlisting/drafted... this doesn't have anything to do with their actual age.

BTW, The young had a trade on the plantation as well.....whether it was help here or there they all pitched in with the chores..... 6 year olds could always sweep, muck stalls, shine boots, slop the hogs, feed the chickens, etc.

jthlmnn
12-30-2007, 02:27 PM
in regaurds to our technical note: I was actually in ear shot of the situation from the point of its origin, to the point of its close.

Thank you for the clarification. From the intro sentences of your post, I took it that you were refering to someone else, rather than speaking of yourself in the third person. I stand corrected.

Suppelsa
12-30-2007, 02:30 PM
I also attended the Crossroads event that year. There was another incident on Saturday while the Confederates were boarding the train to head to the public battle. Basically there were a group of Confederates sitting in the back of one of the cars. These gentlemen called to another Confederate(who will remain anonymous) sitting at the front of the car, who responded by saying "I'm Rosa Parks today." This gentleman was removed from the train and also was kicked out.

Just food for thought.

OVI
12-30-2007, 02:53 PM
These gentlemen called to another Confederate(who will remain anonymous) sitting at the front of the car, who responded by saying "I'm Rosa Parks today." This gentleman was removed from the train and also was kicked out.

Just food for thought.

Any my thought would be...and we wonder why folks dont take us seriously?

Kent Dorr - Ohio
"Devils Own Mess"

2nd_mi_johnny
01-12-2008, 02:58 PM
And correct me if I am wrong but wasn't he also black listed from reenactments at large in the state of Michiga. I remember that situation. He stormed right past our cannon, he was livid, but he also knew about the situation with the Officer; that day, he and I were talking about it. So he allready knew the situation was a touchy one. I can't help but feel that HE was in the wrong in that situation. He was a problem from what his own unit told me all day, waking up drunk from the night before, being beligerant, the use of foul language amungst the general public, and the like all day. The situation with him, not only amungst his only but with the parks, was not just that one situation, but rather how he was conducting him self.. Not to mention the use of the historic figure Rosa Parks who wasn't even thought of at that point was in poor taste.

Darby8th
01-16-2008, 10:36 AM
Several previous posters have raised what seems to be the key point in this whole mess. In a "recruiting" scenerio, it is usually the practice to consider all members of the public, regardless of age, gender, race, disability, or other factors as adult males, thus allowing everyone to participate. Since many of these recruiting efforts are followed by some sort of mock drill, it is usually important to get as many people as possible to line up, count off, and march. As reenactors, we are usually expected to convey something of the common soldier experience to the unknowing public. By putting them in the army and letting them drill as soldiers, everyone is able to relate to that part of the Civil War experience. In that context, it is not necessary to give a bigger history lesson about the role of women or slaves; you just want everyone to see what is was like to sign up, suit up, and learn "rank and file, strawfoot, hayfoot, right face, left face, count by twos, etc." When the NR did a demonstration at Gettysburg this summer, we formed a company of audience members that accompanied our portrayal of the 1st Minn. on July 2. Not only did this mix of men, women, and kids of all ages and races advance in good order into Plum Run with the reenactors, but when it came time to learn whether the soldier whose card they held lived or died, they knelt reverently in the weeds in their honor. There are ways to do history "right" and still be inclusive and understanding when we deal with the public. I taught a Civil War College for Kids to grade schoolers that included marching and drill. There was not one minute in 10 years that I regretted letting those girls serve as soldiers in the ranks. Not only did those girls embrace the role, they turned out to be some of the kids that learned the most and became the strongest advocates for history.